Carlton & United Breweries has announced a $10.3 million upgrade of the Cascade Brewery to support its growing portfolio of craft beer brands.
Partly funded by a $1 million grant from the Tasmanian Government, the brewery upgrade will result in a 65 per cent increase in production capacity at Cascade.
But it was motivated by increasing brewing flexibility more than volume, according to newly appointed Cascade brewery manager Anita Holdsworth.
“It’s around introducing the right facilities to support craft beer. It’s really about small batch brewing for us down at Cascade,” she told Brews News.
“We’ll do the majority of the work this year and finish it off in 2019, so we’re full steam ahead.”
CUB has had no small batch capability since the 2014 closure of the Matilda Bay Garage in Port Melbourne.
Cascade is currently the facility it uses to produce a range of smaller volume beers including Lazy Yak and newcomer Rusty Yak, as well as the Matilda Bay and Goose Island ranges.
Holdsworth said it is also the home of CUB’s heritage brands such as Tooth’s, Bulimba and McCracken’s.
What now for Cascade brand?
At this stage it is unclear what role the Cascade brand itself will have to play under the new regime, which CUB says will launch Cascade as “one of Australia’s leading craft breweries”.
“Cascade will still be our hero brand,” Holdsworth told Brews News. “With the announcement we’ll be working closely with the [Cascade] marketing team on what their future strategy is.”
CUB sought to reinvent Cascade as a craft beer brand under SABMiller’s ownership in 2013, later deleting new additions such as Bright Ale and discontinuing Cascade First Harvest, its annual fresh hop beer.
In 2015 the brewer announced Cascade would effectively revert to its original mainstream positioning.
ABI brands coming
Goose Island beers made at Cascade have reportedly been pouring at the Cascade Visitor Centre for some months.
Holdsworth suggested the venue may have its remit expanded to become a place drinkers can experience beers from the wider CUB/ABI portfolio.
“We want to expand out into the great beers that we’re brewing outside just the Cascade range, so we’ll be looking to put more on tap, but we’ll have to work that out with the hospitality manager down there,” she said.
She confirmed local production of other international craft beer brands owned by AB InBev is also on the cards.
“We have a whole stable of ABI brands and we’re talking to the brand managers at the moment, looking at Camden Town, 10 Barrel, Elysian,” she said.
ABI has also paved the way for other brands to be launched in Australia. During 2017, the company applied to register local trade marks for Four Peaks Brewing Company (Arizona), Golden Road Brewing Company (California), Blue Point Brewing Company (New York) and Wicked Weed Brewing Company (North Carolina).
Cascade will also act as an innovation hub for AB InBev’s entire Asia Pacific South Zone, which is headquartered in Melbourne.
New brewery manager
CUB announced the appointment of Anita Holdsworth as Cascade’s new brewery manager in tandem with the brewery upgrade news.
“Anita started her career working in medical genetics research, moving then into microbiology and chemistry before transitioning to manufacturing,” CUB said in a statement.
The first female to be Cascade’s brewery manager, Holdsworth is currently senior brewing and quality manager for ABI.
She spent eight years in quality management at McCain Foods prior to joining CUB as national quality manager in 2014.
“Anita brings to the role a dynamic passionate leadership style, perfectly suited to the challenge and the opportunity of growing Cascade as CUB’s craft hub,” said ABI Asia Pacific South Zone President Jan Craps.
Goose Island spearheads CUB craft